Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)


Grey-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma)


French: Albatros à tête grise German: Graukopfalbatros Spanish: Albatros cabecigrís

Diomedea chrysostoma

J. R. Forster

, 1785,

vicinity of the Antarctic Circle and in the Pacific Ocean




Circumpolar in Southern Ocean, breeding from Cape Horn E to Campbell I.

Descriptive notes

70–85 cm; male 3096–4345 g, female 2840–4175 g; wingspan 180–220 cm. Clearly hooded, but only indistinctly capped. Adult has grey hood, darkest... read more


Wailing and croaking calls like those of most other mollymawks, especially T. melanophris. read more


Marine and pelagic, rarely approaching land except at colonies; favours much colder surface waters... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly cephalopods (Todarodes, Kondakovia longimana, Histioteuthis eltaninae) and fish (Myctophidae, ... read more


Biennial, when successful; starts early Sept–Oct with return to colony, thereafter pre-laying exodus (by females) lasts on average c... read more


Disperses widely over Southern Ocean, mostly between 65° S and 35° S, reaching 15° S in... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. World population estimated at c. 500,000–600,000 birds in late 1990s, with c. 80,000–95,000 pairs breeding in any one year; 17,000 pairs on Diego Ram... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 October 2019).